Health Insurance

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Tennessee 2021

Best Cheap Health Insurance in Tennessee 2021

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Tennessee residents can find affordable health insurance on the state health insurance marketplace. We analyzed all health insurance plans in Tennessee and found that either the Silver 5000 Direct, Cigna Connect 7300, Silver S04S, Network S or Ambetter Balanced Care 29 (2021) is the cheapest Silver health insurance policy, depending on where you live in the state.

The average cost of a 2021 health insurance plan in Tennessee is $439 for a 40-year-old. This is 11% less expensive than the rate for 2021 plans, a difference of $52 per month.

The best plan for you depends on both your coverage needs and location, as plans and rates change by county. For example, the Ambetter Balanced Care 29 (2021) is the most affordable option in 32 counties, but the monthly cost varies by $78 depending on where you live in Tennessee.

Cheapest health insurance by metal tier

To help you find the best policy that fits your needs, we compared Tennessee plans by metal tier and found the cheapest health insurance plans in the state for each level of coverage. These policies are not available in every county but can provide a good starting point in comparing the monthly premium and out-of-pocket expenses you can expect for each metal tier.

For example, the cheapest Bronze policy, the Bronze B08L, Network L, has a monthly premium of $295 for a 40-year-old in Tennessee, but it has a $1,250 higher deductible than the Cigna Connect 7300, the cheapest Silver policy. However, you would need to pay $133 more per month for the Cigna Connect 7300.

Metal tier
Cheapest plan
Maximum out-of-pocket
Monthly cost for a 40-year-old
CatastrophicCatastrophic 3 $0 PCP Visits Direct$8,550$8,550$318
BronzeBronze B08L, Network L$8,550$8,550$295
Expanded BronzeBronze 8550 Direct$8,550$8,550$345
SilverCigna Connect 7300$7,300$7,300$428
GoldAmbetter Secure Care 5 (2021)$1,450$6,300$512

Two important elements that affect your monthly premium are age and metal tier. As you grow older, your insurance premium across all metal tiers will increase.

On average, a 40-year-old in Tennessee would pay $113 more per month than a 21-year-old for a Silver plan. The monthly premium similarly increases for higher metal tiers. For instance, a Gold plan would have a monthly premium that is 53% higher on average than a Silver plan regardless of age.

chart monthly insurance cost by age and metal tier

Finding your best health insurance coverage in Tennessee

The best health insurance plan for you in Tennessee changes depending on where you live because the availability and monthly premium of a policy can change from county to county.

For example, the Cigna Connect 4750 is available in 65 counties, and it ranges in price from $428 per month to $447 per month for a 40-year-old. However, regardless of where you live, you will be able to choose from different metal tiers of coverage at a variety of rates.

When choosing a policy, higher metal tier health plans, like Gold plans, may come at higher monthly premiums, but they provide better coverage, which means lower out-of-pocket costs. So, if you expect to have high medical costs in the coming year, you may wish to choose a higher metal tier, as the lower deductibles, copays and coinsurance would offset the costs of the more expensive premium.

On the other hand, if you have no expected medical costs and are comfortable with covering a high portion of unexpected medical costs, then you may wish to purchase a lower metal tier plan to take advantage of the cheaper rates.

Gold plans: Best for high expected medical costs

Despite a higher monthly premium than Silver or Bronze plans, Gold plans provide the lowest out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, copays or coinsurance. Therefore, Gold plans will typically offer you the lowest net expenses if you use or expect to use your health insurance often.

Ultimately, these health plans are often best if you have high expected medical costs, such as needing consistent medical attention due to chronic conditions, or if you are concerned about being able to pay out of pocket for an unexpected condition.

The cheapest Gold plan in Tennessee is the Ambetter Secure Care 5 (2021). Compare all tiers in Tennessee above.

Silver plans: Best for those with low incomes or average medical costs

Silver plans offer a middle ground between the expensive monthly premiums of a Gold plan and the higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance elements of Bronze and Catastrophic plans.

The Cigna Connect 4750 Silver plan, for instance, has a monthly premium of $429 with a $4,750 deductible for a 40-year-old in Shelby County. The Cigna Connect 1000 Gold plan has a much lower deductible of $1,000, but it has a higher monthly rate of $641.

If you are part of a lower-income household, Silver plans may also be the best choice for you, as you may qualify for cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies. These CSR subsidies would further lower your out-of-pocket expenses. Typical Silver plans cover about 70% of your health care costs, while you pay 30%. But under CSR subsidies, you could qualify for a Silver plan that covers up to 94% of your health care costs.

The cheapest Silver plan in Tennessee is the Cigna Connect 7300. Compare all tiers in Tennessee above.

Bronze and Catastrophic plans: Best for young, healthy people

Although Bronze plans are available to everyone, Catastrophic plans require the policyholder to be under age 30 or qualify for an exemption. If you're insured under a Catastrophic health care plan, you cannot use premium tax credits to reduce the monthly costs.

These plans are the lowest tiers available on the state exchange, which means they offer the cheapest monthly premiums at the expense of high out-of-pocket costs if you were to use your health insurance.

We wouldn't recommend these health plans unless you can afford the higher cost-sharing in the case of a medical emergency.

The cheapest Bronze plan in Tennessee is the Bronze B08L, Network L. The cheapest Catastrophic plan is the Catastrophic 3 $0 PCP Visits Direct. Compare all tiers in Tennessee above.

Short-term health insurance in Tennessee

Tennessee residents can purchase short-term health insurance through providers outside of the exchange at any time during the year. For this reason, a short-term plan can be a good option if you need quick, temporary coverage or miss open enrollment.

Most short-term health plans do not cover all the essential benefits — like maternity care, mental health services and prescription drugs — which should be considered when selecting a plan that fits your health needs.

Tennessee follows federal guidelines when it comes to regulating short-term health insurance. Initial coverage terms are limited to one year and can be renewed for up to 36 months.

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Best cheap health insurance companies in Tennessee

There are six health insurance companies on the Tennessee state exchange:

  • Ambetter of Tennessee
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Bright Health Insurance Co. of Tennessee
  • Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co.
  • Oscar Insurance Co.
  • UnitedHealthcare

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the only insurer available across the entire state. None of the other insurers are available in every county. However, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co. and Ambetter of Tennessee typically offer the lowest rates for a Silver plan if they are available in your county.

Cheapest health insurance plan by county

Finding the best health plan for you can be difficult, as the set of insurance plans changes depending on where you live in Tennessee.

To help your search, we identified the most affordable Silver health insurance policies available on the state exchange by county. Whether you are looking for a health insurance plan for you or to cover your whole family, you can use the table below to see the lowest monthly cost for a Silver plan in your region.

Cheapest plan
Age 40
Couple, age 40
Couple, age 40 plus child
AndersonSilver 5000 Direct$438$876$1,138
BedfordAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$510$1,021$1,326
BentonAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$432$863$1,122
BledsoeCigna Connect 7300$445$890$1,156
BlountSilver 5000 Direct$438$876$1,138
BradleyCigna Connect 7300$445$890$1,156
CampbellSilver 5000 Direct$438$876$1,138
CannonSilver S04S, Network S$576$1,152$1,497
CarrollAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$432$863$1,122
CarterCigna Connect 7300$434$868$1,128
CheathamCigna Connect 7300$447$894$1,161
ChesterAmbetter Balanced Care 29 (2021)$432$863$1,122
Show All Rows

Average cost of health insurance by family size in Tennessee

The size of your family will directly affect your monthly health insurance premium, as a policy is priced based upon the age of each person covered. Children below the age of 15 qualify for lower health insurance premiums at a flat rate. However, once they reach 15, the monthly premium will increase as they grow older.

For example, the average monthly health insurance premium for a family of three in Tennessee, assuming two 40-year-old parents and a child, is $1,348. With each additional child, the average cost of a Silver health plan increases by $311, so a family of four would cost an average of $1,659 per month to insure.

Family size
Average monthly cost of health plan
Individual plus child$829
Couple, age 40$1,038
Family of three (adult couple and a child)$1,348
Family of four (adult couple and two children)$1,659
Family of five (adult couple and three children)$1,969

Adults are assumed to be 40 years old. Children are assumed to be 14 or younger. Sample rates are based on the average cost of a Silver plan in Tennessee.

Health insurance rate changes in Tennessee

Over the past year, the average cost of a health insurance plan in Tennessee has decreased by 11%, or $52 per month, for a 40-year-old. Gold plans in particular experienced the largest decrease in average cost, with rates dropping over 8% since 2020.

Each insurer sets premiums for its own policies. Then these are sent to the Tennessee health insurance exchange for approval before being offered to residents.

Metal tier
2020 premium
2021 premium
Expanded Bronze$396$4175.29%

Rates are based on a 40-year-old adult.


This analysis used health insurance plan details and rate data provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) government website. Using the CMS Public Use Files (PUF), ValuePenguin calculated the typical rates a resident of Tennessee would pay according to their family size and county of residence.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.


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